Thursday, November 10, 2022

Fall In Convention

I try to make it too all of the big HMGS-East conventions: Cold Wars, Historicon and Fall In and for the past 25 years, I've made nearly all of them. Occasionally I cull the lead herd by selling at Wally's Basement. The last time I sold was during Cold Wars 2020; It was a strange experience because the Covid-19 pandemic was starting to grip the United States and counties in Pennsylvania were starting to shut down large events. I sold among a mass of people not really knowing if I'd get Covid and what it would happen if I did get it. 

Fast forward to this Fall In, I decided to revisit Wally's and sell a lot of my abandoned projects I listed prices very discounted. I sometimes find myself stifled and frustrated when I acquire too many projects that I know won't ever be completed. I managed to have a successful Wally's both in terms of making some extra hobby money and moving on from a lot of my excess hobby stuff. 

Lots of stuff here, almost all of it has found another home.

The rest of the convention was lots of fun. I played in my traditional Friday night naval game with my best friend Rob, GM'd by my favorite game host Brian. Rob and I commanded some Athenian ships and managed to sink heaps of Spartan ships en-route to victory. I am a big fan of the location (formerly The Host) and had an extremely pleasant experience with all aspeccts.

I didn't buy much, just a book on the militias of the Sedgemoor campaign from On Military Matters and some discounted GHQ packs of VAB and M113 APCs for my Ukraine modern micro armor project. Now I need to figure out how I will spend the proceeds from my Wally's sell off!


Sunday, October 16, 2022

al-Kebab's Growing Army

As previously reported, I have started my fictional country Krapistan for AK-47 Republic campaigns and battles. I initially called my rebel fashion al Jabar but have opted to rename them al-Kebab. I've had fun designing their flag but it's not quite ready yet. I have been slowly building the al-Kebab army. 

Here is a picture of the full army thus far. 

The grunts of the army form three units of infantry armed to the teeth with rusty AK-47s, battered RPKs a smattering of DShKs and lots of RPG-7s. 

Closeup of a command stand. You can tell it is a command stand because there is a gent pointing in a commanding nature. His friend is on his cell phone talking to a telemarketer. Khurasan sculpts.

A couple of al-Kebabis, you can tell who is a follower of al-Kebab because they wear bits of black clothing. Sometimes its just a vest and turban and sometimes its a completely black ensemble. Flashpoint and Khurasan sculpts.

More followers of al-Kebab. I believe both of these sculpts are Khurasan.

More black garb, the guy on the left is ducking and running although it is hard to tell from the angle. Flytrap and Khurasan.

Here we have an elite unit of diehard fanatical jihadists. The fact that they are in very serious-looking all black pajamas lets you know they are elite. These sculpts are CP Models with some Old Glory's FireForce range (command figures and DShK). All of these figures are enormous and don't really mix well with the other ranges in the collection. I was originally going to sell the sculpts off but I opted to paint them up and make them a separate unit.

Another command stand (see the guy pointing?) that includes the spiritual leader of al-Kebab. He's holding a small booklet with all of his favorite recipes for skewers of meat and veggies.

The al-Kebab MartyrCycles Brigade has been documented before but here's another picture of them.

Some of the al-Kebab technicals gathering for another "cars and coffee" event.

Toyota: the choice of warlords around the globe. 

Lastly, the armored fist of al-Kebab, a dusty, greasy BMP-2 aiming its gun right at you, the reader. I think I will add a T-55 to the al-Kebab army.  More to come. Now I need to finish off the Krapistan pro-government faction. 

10mm French Revolution

I've always been intrigued by the armies of the French Revolution. 10mm is my preferred scale and years ago I was able to pickup some of the Pendraken French Revolution packs at discount on eBay.  In 2019, I painted some up and based units on single bases, I even made a blog post about it! Last year, I ordered some more of the figures from Pendraken as well as some figures from Magister Militum to fill in as proxies for some of the gaps in the Pendraken range. Recently, I decided to rebase those previously painted figures for Maurice. I think Maurice is the most ideal choice of rules for me to portray the tactics of the French Revolution (more on that). My armies are based depicting the restructuring made by Dubois-Crance prior to the almagamation.

First up is a former Royalist battalion in their not so splendid white uniforms and tarleton caps. I gave this unit pink facings because one should always use pink when one can when painting historical miniatures.

Here is a closeup of some former Royalists skirmishing. There are two poses skirmishing (one firing and one loading). I experimented with GW contrast white paint on the uniforms, I like the result which is good. I will need this for when I tackle the Austrians opponents.

Here are 3 battalions of French National Guard, "Les Bleus", in attack columns. I plan to rate the National Guard as conscripts but will allow them to use massed formations to replicate the assault columns and allow them to form "groups" with battalions in line formation.

Closeup of a stand of Les Bleus showing some of the chaos in their uniforms. Bicornes worn fore to aft and side to side, phrygian caps, bonnets du police, and lots of striped pants in national colors!

Closeup of the command base for a National Guard battalion. More caps and more striped pants. I drilled out the flag staff on the standard bearer and added brass wire so that I could fit the slightly oversized flags. 

Here we have a battalion of grenadiers. Bearskins, bicornes and more striped pants to show off revolutionary fervor. 

Closeup of some grenadiers, I really like these sculpts. So much character. 

Another closeup of grenadiers but here we have some former royalist grenadiers showing off those white uniforms and pink facings.

The last unit shown is a unit of skirmishers also known as "irregulars" in Maurice. I will probably allow them to form movement groups with regular infantry units.

And a closeup of the French skirmishers. Neat little poses.


Wings over Ogaden

I'm a big fan of Tumbling Dice's 1/600 aerial combat ruleset series Wings at War, and a few years back I picked up the Africa at War book Wings Over Ogaden which covers the war between Ethiopia and Somalia back in the late 1970s. Since there was a significant amount of aerial combat in the war, I thought it would be fun to game with a modified Wings at War. Tumbling Dice made the aircraft but the big hurdle was a lack of proper decals for the roundels of the two belligerent nations. Recently Flight Deck Decals released Ethiopian and Somali roundels so I was in business! Here are a few snaps of the aircraft.

First up is an Ethiopian F5E, I used the aforementioned Wings Over Ogaden as a painting guide. I think it came out fairly decent. I only have one desert style flight base finished so it will be in all of the photos in this post.

A few snaps of the F5E firing off a pipecleaner Sidewinder. I copied this technique from Jim over at Jim's Wargames Workbench blog (great site if you are a fan of aerial wargaming or really any wargaming).

Next up is an Ethiopian F5A, these aircraft were relegated to ground attack in the war because they weren't wired for missiles. One of the F5As was painted in a light grey scheme while the rest were painted in the same scheme as the F5Es. I opted to paint all of my F5As grey to differentiate them.

Ethiopian Canberra, apparently these retained the rather unsuitable grey/green RAF camouflage scheme.

Next up is a Somali Mig-17, these were used in the attack role during the war. I did not bother to align the stars on the roundels in the proper position. 

Another snap of the Mig-17. Its one of my favorite aircraft as far as aesthetics are concerned,

Here we have the Somali Mig-21. It should have been a nice matchup with the Ethiopian F5Es but there was a big difference in pilot skill level favoring the Ethiopian air force. 

A slightly different angle of the Mig-21,

Lastly we have a Somali Il-28 Beagle. The Somalis only had three of these and I don't believe they didn't play a big part in the war (other than a half-assed bombing run in the early stages of the conflict). This particular model required alot of work. The engines were cast slightly asymmetric so I did alot of surgery on one engine and wing to make it more even. When it came time to paint I couldn't find a single image of a Somali Il-28. Not one. With the help of The Miniatures Page, I found an account from Tom Cooper himself where he confirmed a Somali he interviewed stated they were painted in a metallic color. Talk about some effort for that Beagle!

I will probably use Wing's at War's Thud Ridge rules for this conflict, need to paint up some SAM sites and some ground targets.


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Playing the Currency Exchange Market...

Lately the British Pound has been plummeting and the dollar is nearly equal in value these days. I decided it was good timing to place some UK orders (especially with my birthday nearing). First purchase was over at Baccus 6mm, where I placed an order for Danish and Swedish army packs for the Scanian Wars and an English late 17th century army pack which will be used to augment the Scanian War armies. I was vacillating between a Great Northern War project and a Scanian War project in 6mm but my trip to Denmark really made me intrigued by the Scanian War. 

My next purchase was over at Pendraken; I had a £150 credit from the Pendraken Painting Competition. I picked up a hodgepodge of figures: late 17th century for my Sedgemoor project, some French Revolution figures, early WW1 French and German heavy artillery (I intended on picking up some Belgian WW1 artillery but forgot..oh well, next time), AWI British Legion and finally some Sassanid Persians.

I have had my eyes on the beautiful Sassanid Persians from Pendraken. I have a heap of Late Romans from my Dux Bellorum Arthurian project and I'd like to make a proper Roman army and have fancied making a Sassanid Persian army for Dux Bellorum. I also think the Persians may be my entries for the 2023 Painting Competition. The Pendraken range is fairly small so I also picked up some additional Late Romans to convert to Persians...but Pendraken doesn't have Sassanid Persian elephants.

I am thinking of making a trip to the Magister Militum site and picking up some of their beautiful Persian pachyderms. Of course, I might as well grab some other items while I'm there....


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Birth of Krapistan

 One of the first projects I ever completed was my AK-47 Republic "The Lebanon" armies, complete with IDF, Syrian commandos and PLO forces. I've always had a soft spot for AK-47 Republic and a few years back was inspired by a fellow wargamer's "Dafuqistan" fictional Afghanistan. This brings us to my current AK-47 Republic project: "Krapistan"...the fictional country of Krapistan is run by a weak, central government and regional warlords of varying strength. Within Krapistan there is a fundamentalist movement called "Al Jabar Kebab" led by their enigmatic mufti Jabar. 

So far here are the forced of Al Jabar Kebab. Not much painted up, just a BMP-2 (more pictures here), three technicals, two Toyota troop carriers (with magnetized areas for sitting soldiers), an infantry unit and a motorcycle unit. Al Jabar's Kebab's military wing will be based on speed and mobility and firepower and lots of guys wearing black clothing...

Here are the motor bikes. This is the Al Jabar Kebab "MartyrCycle Brigade". These dashing fellas are basically just a truck-mounted infantry unit as far as the rules are concerned (since motorcycles aren't really addressed) but I think they look cool.

Here is another angle, showing off the Chinese version of the Honda CG125 dirtbikes. These sculpts are Old Glory of some kind and are a bit big and bulky but really paint up well.

And now we have some Krapistani government (or warlord) BTR-60s. These are also Old Glory sculpts and they weigh a ton. I wanted to spruce them up and make them more third world so I added crates, oil drums and gear and lots of grime and rust. The turrets and tops of the hulls have magnets embedded to allow tank (or in this case BTR) riders. The Krapistani government forces already have a T-55 previously showcased here.

An army runs on its logistics and here are some of the Krapistani trucks, in this case three Old Glory M35 deuce and a halfs and a Peter Pig GAZ. The M35s can operate as troop carriers or objectives for games.

Closeup of the GAZ , carrying precious fuel and ammo. This will most likely be an objective for capture or destruction in games. A little about this particular sculpt...years ago on eBay, I made a bunch of purchases from an estate sale. I picked up lots of modern 15mm gaming stuff to include this GAZ. The GAZ was in bad shape with some structural damage and a partial paint job. I stripped it and repaired it. I imagine the original owner has either passed on, if that's the case I hope he is looking down and enjoying his lead getting some attention. 

Modern Micro Armor

 A couples years back, my gaming buddy Rob and I played in a modern micro armor game at one of the HMGS conventions. The game was a fictional battle between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Crimea and was put on by the guys from Thunderbolt Forge Games, the miniatures and scenery were absolutely beautiful. 

Spurred on by that experience, I picked up some GHQ miniatures to start my own Russian Ukraine micro armor project. The figures languished until shortly before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine...I started painting them up as I saw the various events on TV and the internet but they could just as easily be for any point between 2014 and present. 

First up are a few T-80Us, as mentioned before these and the rest of the vehicles are GHQ. Really superb, clean sculpts. Russian green with an ink wash and light drybrush.

I thought about adding vehicle numbers or even the notorious Vs, Zs and Os of the 2022 invasion but decided to keep these plain green with the exception of a red dot on the thermal.

Some MT-LB APCs, little tiny things these are. I tarted them up with white vehicle numbers available from here. When I purchased these and the T-80s, I planned to base them off of the 200th Independent Motorized Brigade and whom uses the T-80/MT-LB combination because of the arctic type environment they are based out of. Anyway, the 200th uses yellow numbers but I went white.

Some Russian infantry (and an ATGM team). These are Main Force miniatures and they are all sculpted prone with a few exceptions. I like these as gaming pieces, I painted them in Ratnik style uniforms with white identification bands on limbs.

Next up are some Ukrainian infantry (and an ATGM team), I painted these guys in a more khaki look with yellow identification bands.  

Same guys but a different angle.

Here we have Ukrainian T-64 Bulats in digital pixel camo. It was an interesting challenge to replicate the digital pixel camo in 1/300. I think I did a good enough job for the gaming table.

Same Bulats, different angle. I painted some Ukrainian ID panels on reactive armor.

A few BTR-80s in digital pixel scheme, I don't believe GHQ makes any BTR-4s yet.

BMP-2s in digital pixel camo.

So there you go. I have about 5 of each type model (number in a GHQ pack) and plenty more infantry and ATGM teams. I plan to use the very simple (and free) Pz.8 1975-2010 wargaming rules with these. I plan to add some little add-ons like blinds and special events. I will be playing these with my gaming buddy Rob at Historicon in case you see them there!